Very Decent Proposal: Portal Brings The Love

All I did was make a nice picnic. I'm rubbish!

Oh now this is special. Properly special. Extraordinarily talented map creator Douglas “TopHATTwaffle” Hoogland was commissioned by one Gary Hudston to create a very particular series of Portal 2 levels. Working with Rachel “Miss Stabby” van der Meer, he set about creating some truly spectacular Portal 2 puzzles that lead up to, well, something of a proposal.

The Gary Hudston Project, as the task became known, was Gary’s means of proposing to his girlfriend Stephanie. Which is pretty damned romantic. It could also have been rather cheesy, were it handled by a less talented team. But Hoogland and van der Meer have created something really spectacular (if Valve aren’t offering them jobs soon, I’ll be surprised) and you can watch the whole thing here:

Quite how they made the GLaDOS voice I have no idea, unless they somehow commissioned Ellen McLain herself to perform the new script. It’s spot on. Edit: Apparently he did! And if that moment with the room converting itself into a church didn’t make you give a heartfelt smile, then you need to slap yourself awake.

What a lovely thing to start the day. (Meanwhile, here’s a Portal bedroom!) (Via Reddit.)


  1. RickyButler says:

    Huh. My bro made a fancy Oblivion mod to propose to his gf. It has a guy that looks like this: link to

    • Zaboomafoozarg says:

      Did she say yes?

      Or derp?

    • RickyButler says:

      Yeyuh, otherwise it probably would have been quietly brushed under the rug and gone unmentioned by anyone forever and ever. :(

      I just went and found the only part of it I’ve ever seen, featuring Terminal11: link to

      Ugh, he’s always trying to get me to play it but…I just can’t…I mean…play something where, like, my bro proposes to me at the end….Altho: watching this one to the end wasn’t bad. :x One of these days, broceratops, one of these days….

  2. Pahalial says:

    Well that’s just thoroughly adorable.

  3. Prospero says:

    They did in fact get Ellen McLain to do the voice work. At least so sayeth the article on Kotaku.

    • Flobulon says:

      The guy’s YouTube comment says so too.

    • Jonnycox says:

      That’s quite impressive (as are the levels, of course)… makes me wonder how much collaboration with Valve these folks had. Truly the best game-oriented proposal I’ve ever seen.

      I don’t know why I put “game-oriented” since it’s the best proposal I’ve seen period. AWESOME

  4. Laneford says:


  5. Fox89 says:

    I wonder what the protocol was from the guy proposing. Was he sat there, watching over her shoulder with barely concealed fear? Nonchalantly watching Battlestar Galactica in the living room and waiting for the cry of “OH MY GOD!” from the other side of the door?

    The most plausible image I can conjure involves candlelight, a rat-man mural of the girlfriend and a ring presented in a hollowed out companion cube.

    And after all that, thank goodness she said ‘yes’! When you put that much effort into a proposal, refusal should be banned :)

    • Sinomatic says:

      I thought a raft of sentries would pop up when GlaDOS said “You can say no…”

    • gwathdring says:

      First: Awwwww. That’s really quite wonderful. And impressive.

      Second, and in reply to the above:
      That’s one issue with elaborate proposals. If you haven’t discussed things ahead of time … it can be really awkward for the askee if he or she isn’t quite ready because you don’t want to waste all of their efforts. It’s different for every couple though, and I would hope that a healthy relationship is capable of handling a rejected proposal without ill will being harbored on either side, anyway.. So I’ll give these two the benefit of the doubt and assume there was no peer pressure effect. It’s incredibly adorable and awesome, that possibility aside.

      I never know what to make of those big public proposals, especially; when someone organizes a 100 person flash mob to sing his proposal to you … how can you say no? If you weren’t quite ready to be married suddenly you’re in a godawful position. Or imagine wanting to turn a girl down when she just made an adorable loving request on live television? Thousands of people staring at their televisions and innocently shouting “Say YES! Do it!” That’s a hell of a lot of pressure.

    • Fox89 says:

      With the girlfriends I’ve had (which for all you know could be thousands! I love the internet), I get the distinct impression that a peer pressurey proposal if they weren’t 100% ready would result in a swift and highly public slap to the face.

    • The Colonel says:

      It’s that horrible make or break aspect that I love. If they say no then the humiliation faced by both parties and the perceived rejection of the proposers love and time investment will surely wreck the relationship. Still very sweet thing to do regardless.

    • Urthman says:

      Only an idiot makes an “official” proposal of marriage without having had plenty of conversations that firmly establish that such a proposal is welcome.

      You people saying this is manipulative must think it’s horrible when the person presiding over the wedding asks, “Do you take this person to be your spouse?” OMG! WHAT IF HE OR SHE SAYS NO? IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE! HOW EMBARRASSING!

    • gwathdring says:

      Yes, but such idiots do exist. Hence qualification. It’s not unheard of. And the sorts of romantic, head-over-heals people as would put on a massively elaborate show of a proposal could very easily, without precisely being idiots, be the sort of people who would want it to be a surprise.

      It does happen.

  6. Bennus says:

    Brilliant level design, they do deserve Valve jobs. The whole thing had me grinning like a goon, then at the end….something got stuck in my eye…some dust or something.

    • zimbabwe says:

      What’s brilliant about it? It looked Nintendo hard (for you kids, that means it was brutally unfair unless you were actually the person who designed it) and ultimately led to a proposal that struck me as manipulative as all hell… still, nice to hear Ellen McLain working. :)

  7. sinister agent says:

    No co-op mode.


    • Lazaruso says:

      I might get it when it’s on sale in a few months…

    • Big Murray says:

      Deploying wedding tuxedo to the Portal 2 co-op store in 3 … 2 … 1 …

    • Shadram says:

      At least you won’t have to buy a hat for the wedding. It’s bound to come with a free one if you pre-order.

    • LionsPhil says:

      But what if it’s a hat for TF2? My only suit has blood on it…

  8. MrSpandex says:

    Way to show us all up Gary. Now how will I propose to my girlfriend? (you know, if I had one)

  9. DevilSShadoW says:

    Now where are those guys with their fancy “videogames are not art” rants? I want to have a word with them…

  10. Loopy says:

    That is just pure awesome. :)

  11. ZIGS says:

    That was pretty awesome indeed

  12. Amun says:

    My girlfriend proposed to me over a half-eaten sandwich. Does that count? ;__;

    • abremms says:

      was it a ham sandvich?

      otherwise no, doesn’t count. sry.

    • gwathdring says:

      Personally, I think it’s all in the cheese. If the cheese is wrong, the proposal is dead in the water.

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      Actually, some people tried, and found it was impossible to get an orgasm while asleep. (or atleast, his friends found out)

    • I_have_no_nose_but_I_must_sneeze says:

      I know where Tom’s comment is meant to be, but it’s still hilariously misplaced.

    • gwathdring says:

      Well done, Tom. :)

      It is indeed possible. Nocturnal emissions are a well established phenomena especially during puberty. The average rate of occurrence for middle-aged men is in the .2 times a week range. It is possible for men both to hold an erection and orgasm while sleeping.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:


  13. Tom says:


  14. Monkey says:

    The proceeding levels of mutual self loathing, distrust and resentment will be excellent too no doubt

    Ending with a protracted and painful level over who gets the companion cube

  15. Quasar says:

    What’s the DRM like on this thing, anyway?

    You have to stay with one person for the REST OF YOUR LIFE?! Jesus, Ubisoft has nothing on this guy.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Does he have to be turned on to play?

      Wait, don’t answer that.

    • gwathdring says:

      Sleep walkers can sometimes perform surprisingly complicated tasks such as preparing food and getting dressed in addition to the expected sitting upright, eyes open or bumbling about the house. Adult sleepwalkers are rare, but seeing as it is not exactly unheard of for men to orgasm while asleep …

  16. Jubaal says:

    I frickin’ love stuff like this. Awesomely done too.

  17. Radiant says:

    Not to be all debbie downer but this is very unfair on the girl.
    It would take immense courage to say no.

    • albatrocity says:

      I’d have to agree. The whole thing just stinks of creepy, needy nerd.

    • gwathdring says:

      I agree, though not with the “creepy and nerdy” part. I’m always of two minds about this sort of thing. When it’s big and public I’m much more biased towards the “this isn’t fair” side of things.

      That said, @albatrocity: if my girlfriend and I had already discussed the matter more seriously and felt like we were pretty much ready to be engaged or married, I think she would actually rather love this sort of a gesture. Not with a video game, but that’s purely because she isn’t a gamer. If I were the one being asked and we had already decided we were ready … I would be incredibly excited and enchanted by this sort of thing.

      I think were it becomes a problem is when, in the context of the relationship, there is undue pressure to accept. If you’re in a relationship where you’re both ok with having such a proposal brought up and rejected a few times before it works … go for it. If you aren’t, but you’ve talked about the general concept of being married ahead of time to the point that you’d be comfortable either going through with it or not … go for it. If you’ve already decided to marry and the proposal is just treated as a surprise formality … go for it.

      What matters is that no one says yes to a big relationship decision like marriage or moving in together and so forth simply becasue they can’t say no. And I have no evidence that that is the case here. So I’ll just be blissful in my ignorance and enjoy it. :)

    • Berzee says:

      I daresay it wouldn’t have been so publicized (or at least the level would have had the names taken out and such?) if she’d said no. Then everyone gets to enjoy the level, and she only has to worry about saying no to the tremendous work put into the level (which, when compared to the tremendous work of being married the rest of your life, is not much to say no to if you think you’d better =).

    • gwathdring says:

      Fair enough. For my part, I meant “when it is big and public” to imply “in other circumstances than these.” I doubt he assailed her with webcams and put her reaction on a live-stream. Now THAT would be creepy.

    • John Walker says:

      You are aware that all proposals are not suddenly sprung out of nowhere, right? Most people will have discussed it in advance, the surprise being when the question actually occurs.

    • Prime says:

      “Not to be all debbie downer but this is very unfair on the girl.
      It would take immense courage to say no.”

      Isn’t that true of every proposal? Besides, courage may not even come into it. Most women are very clear in their own minds on this issue. If they’re not ready I doubt it’s any great hardship to say so.

    • sneetch says:

      That’s true Prime, a relationship where one person wants to get married and the other one doesn’t. If you say no then where does it go from there? If it was me, the opinions of a bunch of YouTubers would be the last thing on my mind.

    • Rinox says:

      Poor girl, having to muster up the courage to ask the question and try not to do it in a too cliché way

      …oh wait, that’s the guy. She just has to say yes or no. I feel so sorry for her.

      /sarcasm-o-3000 explodes

    • DrGonzo says:

      There is a scary level of social retardation on this site.

  18. TomSmizzle says:

    I am in tears over this. It’s so adorable. I can’t help but think that a co-op campaign may have been a more suitable option, though.

  19. Big Murray says:

    Somebody has to mention kudos to Ellen Mclain for recording lines for the guy, too.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Her delivery is excellent as always, and the lines they wrote for her were surprisingly good too. This project is just the cutest darn thing.

    • Veret says:

      My first reaction to hearing that he’d hired The Real Ellen McLain was along the lines of “WHAT? YOU CAN DO THAT?” But shortly after that I was impressed at how perfectly they remade GLaDOS without all the Valve equipment and expertise–either Proposal Guy has a background in sound design and a (discreet) recording studio in his basement, or Ms. McLain is just that talented. Either way, mad props to everyone involved in this project.

      Also: Awwwwwwwwwww…

  20. Daiv says:

    Ban this sick filth now! Corrupting our nation’s glorious character! No wonder the youth of London was rioting if their brains are being rotted with this offal! No redeeming qualities to these electromotronic wastes of time!

  21. JackShandy says:

    I’d marry him.

  22. Berzee says:

    I’m confused. There is nothing immediately demanding my anger in this post. Is this about games on PC?

    edit: I found a problem but it is just a problem with me. I haven’t watched the video yet because it might not be as good as I want it to be. O_O

    • Berzee says:

      No problems! It was, to coin a norman phrase, rather good.

    • Pemptus says:

      You seem like a man full of issues.

    • Berzee says:

      How dare you?
      *stunned silence*

    • theblazeuk says:

      I see a man full of tissues

    • Burning Man says:

      He is merely representative of the troubled times we live in.

    • Dozer says:

      Part of my job is showing bewildered people how to cast Summon Tissue Viability Nurse. Sadly no-one has actually needed one and not already known the incantation at the times when I’ve been around.

  23. bigtoeohno says:

    My bad.

  24. J-snukk says:

    People loving one another makes me miserable.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I concur, everytime I see it, I sit in front of my gun cabinet when I get home.

  25. poop says:

    she said no

  26. mpk says:

    This put a smile on my face.

  27. gwathdring says:

    Wish I’d thought of that. Amnesia: The Dark Descent doesn’t work quite as well, I find.

  28. googoogjoob says:

    every time i see news about some dude proposing to his girlfriend by way of a video game, i die a little inside

    • Prime says:

      Because you clearly don’t understand it. It doesn’t matter how it was expressed – the fact is any woman is going to love the attention, effort, time and thought that went into making that. Plus, it’s utterly unique. How many women get to say that about their proposals??

    • googoogjoob says:

      i understand it, it’s just awkward and creepy

      the worst was that one video game proposal where the girl obviously wasn’t enjoying the custom-made video game and her boyfriend was constantly staring over her shoulder and telling her what to do

    • Dozer says:

      Girls play video games too, you realise?

      Especially Portal.

      I know several women who would ‘get’ this wedding proposal and love it. All of them in their early twenties and married to other people, though.

  29. mindlessrant says:

    I owe almost everything I know about Hammer to this fine individual right here. Keep on mapping good sir.

  30. c-Row says:

    Guess I will have to propose with a Half-Life 2 mod instead to raise the bar.

  31. The Dark One says:

    A picnic? I thought you said you brought her up to the top of an abandoned tower in the middle of some neighbouring woods, John.

  32. DeanLearner says:

    I modified Punch Out to include a proposal to my girlfriend when she beat Mike Tyson. She didn’t manage it, so I didn’t propose and I never will!

  33. sneetch says:

    That was brilliant. Truly brilliant.

  34. MrKay says:

    Now that’s quite a story to tell your grand children:)

    Cheers to everyone involved, that was truly amazing. Did bring a heartfelt smile to my face – and a tear to my eye even.

    • MajorManiac says:

      Same here. It gave me man tears*.

      * A term I made-up meaning tears that don’t leave the eye, or welling up.

  35. McDan says:

    Amazing, well done to all involved with that. How could the medium that gave us this ever cause riots? Well it didn’t, so there you go, good stuff.

  36. GHudston says:

    Having been a long time RPS reader, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see my proposal featured here (and plugged -twice- on your twitter feed to boot!)

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments, Stephanie and I are overwhelmed!

    • gwathdring says:

      Congratulations to you both!

      And very well done, sir. Very well done indeed.

    • MajorManiac says:

      Thanks for sharing this. Its very uplifting to watch.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      Well done, and all the best to you both.

  37. Dozer says:

    The only flaw – the only flaw – was that Glados didn’t say “Will you, subject name here, do client name here the honour…” at the end instead of actually using their names.

    • GHudston says:

      I did consider putting this in the script, but decided that it was too important to have our names in the question.

  38. Hoaxfish says:

    I imagine the wedding cake is going to be a disappointment

    • Sleepymatt says:

      Oh.. well played sir, well played indeed!!

    • Urthman says:

      Wedding cakes are almost always disappointing.

      And anyone who tells you different is…mistaken.

  39. Tams80 says:

    :_; Soooooo lovely.

  40. miaou says:

    Emotional blackmail is so… ROMANTIC!

  41. dellphukof says:

    Hey so I was wondering as I am sure there is a decent amount of people on TL that seem to have played Quake or CS (any of the versions). I was wondering if people could post in here if they are fans of those two games as to why they are so good or if its just nostalgia? Also I’ve noticed on a lot of Sc2 web shows sometimes either of these games will be mentioned, so its hard to understand what it is that’s being talked about. I never played either this is why I am curious and I know some of my friends on teamliquid also didn’t understand. So we were curious to see people’s reasoning on TL of why they love them so much so we can better understand. I feel like there are games very similar to both CS and Quake but with modern graphics. Also I thought this would be a good thread so anyone in myself and my friends same position can understand the passion some community members have for either of those games. seo service